Outside my kitchen window, the seasons are about to change once again.

The older I become, the faster the seasons seem to revolve, passing by almost at a dizzying pace. The leaves turn luxuriant autumn shades, only to begin tumbling to the ground from their high perch atop the trees' tall branches. Tiny green buds begin to sprout, and the once bare trees become full of life, luster and hope, only to fade and fall away, returning back to the earth, gone. Some branches develop a fuller or more colorful foliage than others, but in the end, each eventually arrives at the same destination—with their final descent to the ground.

In the spring, the flowering trees brighten our world with their brilliant, vivid primary colors. They make me think of bright-eyed children, enveloped in a joie de vivre. They face their days with daring, colorful enthusiasm and flamboyant joy. But the fall’s aging leaves, the mustard yellows and burnt orange, clinging to life with their last breath, mesmerize me. These leaves are like a mature individual, made wise by her shades of life experiences. Their deeper colors symbolize a fuller perspective of hues and a more multidimensional perception of our world—and of our relationship with our Creator.

As I watch the transforming scenery, I am reminded of a verse from Ecclesiastes, "a generation has passed, a generation has arrived, but the earth stands still forever." The names have changed, and the backdrop may be different. Some families are larger, and some individuals achieve more colorful accomplishments. But each eventually repeats the cycle of life as love and birth changes season into loss and heartbreak.

I think about how each of us, too, has those personal moments of glory in our lives when we're in full bloom, sharing our abundant shade with others, giving off beautiful deeds for the world to appreciate. But these moments, too, wither away, as the wheel of life turns and our moments of inspiration and accomplishment are depleted. We start off our lives full of wonder, full of hope and belief in our unlimited potential, only to have our expectations tumble down into reality with the passage of time.

Looking out my window, I wonder if there is any point or purpose to these cycles. Is our world progressing forward, or are we just in a cycle of endless and meaningless repetition? Is there a purpose to these revolving seasons, or is it merely an aimless, incessant sequence?

Yet the fading trees seem to be whispering an inspiring message.

When we moved into our home several years ago, our tree was but a small sapling, so weak and hapless that it was almost blown about by the raging winter winds. Over the changing seasons it has grown taller and thicker. Its branches now reach up to the heavens; its roots have taken a firm grip in the earth. Though its leaves have fallen away through each of the seasons, its trunk is fuller and more mature.

Through the passage of time, each of us develops into a stronger person, with deeper convictions and a surer sense of who we are. And looking back into our history, even when precious, beautiful leaves have been ripped away from our tall national tree by the winds of hate, the tree of the Jewish people, continues to grow stronger, our roots extending ever deeper. They may try to break us or destroy us by taking away our best, most colorful leaves. But they do not understand that the Jewish tree “is a tree of life for those who grasp it.”

In the portion of Shoftim we are taught: For man is a tree of the field. (Deut. 20:19)

Through the seasons of our lives, each of us is developing into a fuller, taller, more mature tree—while awaiting the time when our branches will touch the very heavens.